What is Short QT Syndrome (SQTS) | MedStar Health

A rare disruption in the heart’s electrical activity

The QT interval is the time the heart’s electrical system takes to recharge between heartbeats. Short QT syndrome (SQTS) shortens this time. Caring for SQTS requires expertise from electrophysiologists, doctors who specialize in treating heart rhythm conditions. The physicians in our Cardiac Electrophysiology program  are highly trained advanced subspecialists who manage even the most complex heart rhythm issues.

Short QT syndrome is inherited from at least one parent and is a congenital heart condition , meaning it’s present from birth. The experts in our Cardiogenetics program can help you manage the disease and determine whether you or your loved ones should consider genetic testing.

What are the symptoms of short QT syndrome?

Short QT syndrome symptoms commonly include:

The faster-than-normal electrical activity of the heart in short QT syndrome can lead to one or more of three types of abnormal heart rhythm, including atrial fibrillation (AFib), ventricular fibrillation, and ventricular tachycardia.


In addition to a full physical exam and family history, your doctor will order an electrocardiogram. Other tests, including blood and genetic tests, can confirm a diagnosis of short QT syndrome.

Angiogram (Angiography)
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Electrophysiology Testing

Electrophysiology testing is used to evaluate the cause and location of an abnormal heartbeat (known as an arrhythmia).

Event Monitors

An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but where an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time. 


A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.

Holter Monitors

A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.

Loop Recorder

A loop recorder is a device that’s implanted underneath the skin of your chest to record your heart rhythm for up to three years.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Tilt Table Test

Tilt table testing allows your doctor to determine the cause of explained fainting while monitoring changes in your blood pressure and heart rate while tilted at different angles.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiogram allows us to take very detailed images of your heart structure from a probe in your esophagus.


Your doctor may recommend an implantable cardiac defibrillator to help regulate your heart’s rhythm, as well as medications.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device implanted below your collarbone that monitors your heart’s rhythm. When it detects an abnormal rhythm, it delivers an electrical impulse or shock to the heart to correct it.

Lead Extraction

If the wire that delivers electrical shocks from a pacemaker or ICD is no longer working correctly, your doctor will need to remove it.


A pacemaker is a device that helps control various types of heart rhythm disorders.

Additional information

We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.


Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.